Police to host discussions about use of force

John Richmeier

The Leavenworth Police Department will be hosting public discussions about use of force by police officers.

“I feel like right now it’s important to get out there and talk to people about police use of force,” Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said.

The first event is scheduled for next month. A second one is planned for August.

Kitchens is calling each event A Community Conversation on Police Use of Force. The announcement of the events comes after George Floyd died while in police custody May 25 in Minneapolis. His death has sparked protests around the country and other parts of the world.

“The events in Minneapolis captured a lot of people’s attention,” Kitchens said.

The chief said there is now a lot of discussion about making changes to policing. Kitchens said he wants to have a discussion with members of the public about what the Leavenworth Police Department does.

“That way, they can have a sense of what changes they might want to consider,” Kitchens said.

The first event is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 13, which is a Monday, at the Riverfront Community Center, 123 S. Esplanade St.

The second event is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 8, which is a Saturday, at McGilley Field House at the University of Saint Mary, 4100 S. Fourth St.

Kitchens said topics discussed will include laws that govern the use of force, the Leavenworth Police Department’s own use of force policy, officer training regarding the use of force and related issues.

Kitchens said each event will include a presentation lasting about 30 minutes. Audience members then will be able to ask questions.

Kitchens said about six or seven officers will be on hand during each event. Members of the public will be able to ask individual officers questions if they prefer one-on-one discussions.

“We do want to practice social distancing,” Kitchens said.

He said there are plans to either live-stream the events for people who are unable to attend or record the events so they can be viewed later.

The chief said he will determine whether additional events are needed.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR